MOP reader and Patron Brett has a burning question about the lessons we’re learning (and not learning) from playing MMORPGs.
“In his book Theory of Fun, Raph Koster suggests that games are really just systems of learning things in a way that we enjoy with fewer consequences. In his words, ‘That’s what games are, in the end. Teachers. Fun is just another word for learning.’ If that’s true, then modern MMORPGs and their narratives would seem to be a pretty mixed bag of lessons – individual power can be accumulated like wealth; evil can be conquered through solo and group acts of courage; violence is a feasible solution to almost every problem; your race, nation or profession defines a lot about who you are; and accessorizing with the most expensive bag is possibly the most crucial decision to make before leaving home.
“So with so much opportunity at the moment for our real-world societies and communities to be better, I’d like to know what you think is the most important lesson or lessons that MMORPGs could be teaching us, but currently don’t? How could these games leave us wiser or more richer people for the experience?”
I’ve posed Brett’s questions to the team for the resurgence of Massively Overthinking this week.
As we reported in June, Paywith’s Warlords Awakening MMOARPG is coming westward, with a launch planned for October and an early access date now set for July 26th. The base game will run for $11.99, on up to the top bundle at just shy of 30 bucks.
What we didn’t immediately realize last month is that this game is a rebrand and remastering of Elite Lord of Alliance aka Kuntara Online: The Elite Lord’s Awakening aka ELOA, licensed to a new company. That would probably be fine, except that as MMO blogger Murasama has pointed out, the circumstances surrounding the Korean relaunch of the game last autumn and its recent sunset are concerning. In spite of what appeared to be a respectable playerbase and following in its home country, Playwith shut down the game in Korea just a week ago, and it’s not clear how long the western version will be supported.
It certainly wouldn’t be the first temport we’d ever seen, though for $12, it’s not much of a cash grab. Caution is probably advisable in the meantime, and y’all know the early access rules anyway.
The Elder Scrolls Online
is really upping its creepy factor in Wolfhunter, if its latest preview of Hircine’s Hunting Grounds
is any indication. (Seriously, the new pics of the monstrously huge and ghostly Hircine are nightmarish. In a good way.) ZeniMax has deep-dived one of the DLC’s “dungeons,” March of Sacrifices
, in a new dev blog today, and “dungeon” is in quotes specifically because this is no typical underground delve. Instead, March of Sacrifices is basically an overland realm dedicated to Hircine. Players will be competing with other teams in the zone to topple both the creatures there as well as each other to win the daedra’s favor and collect the requisite loot. Five bosses are also on the agenda for a takedown.
“As Hircine is the Daedric Prince of hunters and stalkers in the wild, the biggest element players will want to get used to in this dungeon is using stealth and taking on the role of a hunter,” ESO Dungeon Lead Mike Finnigan explains. “Some fights will require the use of mechanics not necessarily seen before. In particular, Tarcyr is quite different than anything we have done, and I suspect it will challenge players quite a bit.”
Wolfhunter was announced at E3 back in June and entered playtesting a little over a week ago.
Nexon’s MapleStory 2 is barreling toward its western closed beta launch today, complete with new dungeons, quests, the market, and plenty of network stress testing on deck for this round of the test. In the meantime, the Korean gaming giant has begun selling founder packs as of yesterday. Curiously, the company says it’s selling only 20,000 founder packs during this leg of the test, and it looks as if that’s across all of the different tiers – presumably to limit access to the beta. “Once they are sold out, Founder’s Packs will not be resold until after Closed Beta 2 ends on August 1, 2018 10:00 AM PDT,” says the studio. So there’s that.
What are you looking at if you do buy in? The $24.99 tier includes a mount, title, hat, 30 days of sub, and 2000 currency; the $59.99 package includes all that plus an outfit, another month of sub, and another 3000 currency, for a total of 60 days and 5000 currency; and the $99.99 legendary package brings the total sub days to 90, grants a total of 9000 currency, and includes an emote and daily rewards, plus the other cosmetic trinkets from the lower tiers.
Who doesn’t love a good ghost ship story? I’m a sucker for them, so Sea of Thieves’ Cursed Sails, the game’s second major update, definitely has my eye. According to the new trailer and blog post, players are getting that promised new ship, some new story lore, and the three-man Brigantine, along with the hinted-at multi-boat alliance system and the NPC skeleton ships that will be popping out of the sea to wallop your crew as the “emergent threat” they are. Nothing like watching a ship helmed by skellies literally dive into the depths and drag everything with it. Reddit is freaking out (in a good way) over the crab sighting too.
“Cursed Sails will change things forever on the Sea of Thieves, as the sails you see cresting the horizon are no longer guaranteed to be other players making their own way through the world. The decks beneath those masts may now be manned by skeletal marauders returned to the seas from their restless graves. All that sustains these grinning terrors is a thirst for battle that leads them to terrorise Outposts and call out defenders to face them on the tides…”
The update launches on July 31st; you can watch the preview trailer down below. Arrr!
Over the weekend, I was chatting with the mom of my son’s friend and let slip that I’m a video game blogger. Her reaction? “What do you think of Fortnite? Is it so big because it’s free-to-play?” Our kids aren’t even old enough to play this game, and she knew all about it and wondered about its runaway success.
The truth is, there are lots of reasons for Fortnite’s success, more than I had time to mumble out in small talk. Jamie Madigan on The Psychology of Video Games blog took a stab at answering the same question this week, and his answer is probably not what anybody is expecting.
“I think Fortnite Battle Royale’s secret sauce has to do with something that’s kind of obvious once you think about it: random chance. I don’t mean that Fortnite’s success is due to luck. Rather, I mean that Epic smartly leveraged the power of random rewards in their design for the game, and that’s one of the main reasons it’s so popular.”
We’ve been keeping an eye on Klang Games’ MMO Seed since at least last year, when the studio revealed its single-shard simulation mechanics and use of SpatialOS. It looks as if the game is making some progress, as Klang has a fresh blog post up today with a “teaser” of the game’s current pre-alpha build.
The video shows tiny colony vessels shooting out from earth and setting up camp on other worlds as the humans spread out and build civilization from scratch, from tents to villages to big cities across the new planets. It’s cute and might remind you of a cross between The Sims and Spore, in an EVE Online-like setting, which won’t surprise you as its founders have CCP Games pedigrees.
The company further announced today that it’s raised another $8.95M in Series A investor funding, bringing its total investment to $13.95M.
As of autumn last year, external testing was planned for this summer; it’s not clear whether that’s been delayed or this teaser is a precursor to a test. A few months ago, the devs “no comment”-ed on the topic of release.
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from Elsword, EVE Online, Soulworker Online, League of Legends, Realm Royale, Survived By, EverQuest II, Prosperous Universe, Black Desert Mobile, and Star Trek Online, all waiting for you after the break!
Now that the next World of Warcraft expansion is almost upon us, it’s time to say farewell to Legion and all that that entails. MMO blog Leo’s Life took some time for a retrospective that examines the highs, lows, and patch rollout over the past two years.
“Aside from the penalties to alts, I think Legion delivered an amazing package,” he said. “The timing of content release was good, the content was relatively bug-free, the lore was solid, the flows inside each zone worked… it was all rather seamless.”
We’ve got plenty of additional MMO essays for you after the break, covering topics such as player housing, grouping, events, ageless MMO thrills, and more!
It’s a catch-all, catch-up episode for the Battle Bards as they dig through new soundtrack releases from MMORPGs that they’ve covered in the past! You may be prepared for an eclectic and enjoyable mix of music — but there is no way that you can steel yourself for the raw and heartfelt confessions that take place on this show.
Battle Bards is a bi-weekly podcast that alternates between examining a single MMO’s soundtrack and exploring music tracks revolving around a theme. MOP’s Justin co-hosts with bloggers Steff and Syl. The cast is available on iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and Player.FM.
Listen to Episode 124: Old MMOs, new music (or download it) now:
Ship of Heroes has a fresh dev blog up today on stuff you can’t even see. I’m talking, of course, about nanites, ridiculously tiny robots that work in unison to make big stuff happen across the literal spaceship your superheroes are flying around on in the game. Of course, what the different nanites do depends how they’re programmed. Some of them are effectively magic clean-up crew, fixing busted infrastructure and scrubbing away graffiti. Others serve players in combat.
“Nanites are also useful for combat, though not as much as one might think. They are completely ineffective for offensive purposes, because everyone carries standardized counter-nanites for personal defense in their bodies. Counter-nanites have been around and standardized for more than a century, and the common models are rugged, reliable, and simple enough to be unhackable. The Justice requires immigrants to get counter-nanites as part of the citizenship process if they don’t already have them, and children get them from their parents. The ship itself also has counter-nanites in case of any attempt to attack its systems.”
Check out the whole piece on the official site (and the new screenies below!).
Regardless of who you believe had the right and wrong of the ArenaNet Twitter fiasco last week, game developers have expressed concern over the way it was handled and the potential impact on the greater industry. As Gamasutra noted, the International Game Developers Association has put out a blog post urging developers to demand that companies “clarify the guidelines and expectations around social media use, both in professional and personal accounts,” specifically referencing the recent Guild Wars 2 firings. Moreover, IGDA says, companies should be transparent about how they will “protect [their] talent from internet harassment mobs.”
“Game developers are also frequently targeted for harassment, particularly if they are members of under-represented communities,” IGDA Executive Director Jen MacLean writes. “Companies must plan for how they will support their staff members in the event of online harassment, and should clearly communicate the resources they will make available to their team to have safe, productive, and positive interactions online, especially if they are expected to do so in their roles.”
If you’re a die-hard Mapler anxious for your next big thing, or someone wondering what the heck a Mapler is, then point your eyeballs at Nexon’s MapleStory 2 site for the answer to both, as the company’s posted up a schedule for its next round of closed beta in the west, coming up on July 18th.
“The second Closed Beta will introduce a number of changes to help us prepare our servers and systems for the full release,” says the company. “This includes new dungeons, more quests to complete, a test of the Meret Market systems and more people to give our network a real workout.”
A second blog post this week dives into everything available in the game’s founder packs, which go on sale the same day as closed beta 2 kicks off. Depending on whether you snag the $25, $60, or $100 package, expect a unicorn mount, outfits, a mushroom emote, titles, and a soft serve tombstone that for some reason looks like poop. It does. They even admit it! The new vids down below should give you a taste of what you’re in for.